Lions and dragons of Japan's islands

Nov 25, 2013

Lions and dragons of Japan's islands

When I arrived at the workshop of Setsuko Oshiro in August, the sky was a clear blue and the heat like the inside of a kiln, but there were storm clouds gathering, dark thunderheads over the East China Sea. Sheltering from the blistering sun ...

Fun for all on Tokyo's Oku-Tama wild side

Nov 16, 2013

Fun for all on Tokyo's Oku-Tama wild side

Before I’d even set eyes on the river I heard a deep rumble from its bubbling gash of white and cobalt water rending apart the Tama Mountains. Officially part of Tokyo, Oku-Tama seems at a planetary distance from the metropolis of 35 million people. ...

Sweet times on sugar-isle Kohama

Oct 5, 2013

Sweet times on sugar-isle Kohama

In our minds, islands should be counter worlds, autarchies unsullied by continental concerns. We should arrive spellbound, leave anointed by their beauty. Wherever in the world you might be, it is virtually impossible to set foot on an island without experiencing the sensation that ...

Stroll through 1,000 years of history in one Nikko garden

Sep 28, 2013

Stroll through 1,000 years of history in one Nikko garden

Even before seeing the great sights of Nikko, the visitor cannot fail to be impressed by the luxuriance of the area’s moss. Towering cryptomeria trees, allowing filtered light to penetrate ground cover, provide ideal incubation zones and levels of exposure and protection for the ...

Toba and Kashikojima: pearls of tranquillity beside Ise Bay

Aug 10, 2013

Toba and Kashikojima: pearls of tranquillity beside Ise Bay

In places where land submerges itself beneath water, modes of transportation immediately change and, in some cases, endings become beginnings. The Kintetsu Line train to Toba in Mie Prefecture deposited me practically in front of Ise Bay, which is less known for its fish ...

Small is beautiful in a Kanazawa garden

Jun 30, 2013

Small is beautiful in a Kanazawa garden

It is always heartwarming to come across a historical preservation area where people actually live and go about their daily lives. Such is Nagamachi, one of several older districts of Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast. Less ...